- On Capitol Hill
- On Wall Street
- In the Press
- Policy Reform Work
Our projects are designed to empower policy makers to create positive change. With a focus on collaboration and outreach, we provide original, standards-based research on key policy issues.
SCEPA joined with the Economic Policy Institute on Capitol Hill to brief congressional staff and policy experts on tax expenditures, or incentives given through the tax code without scrutiny by Congress.
SCEPA economists are working on the prospects for a more progressive economic order to emerge from the shock of the recession. They have published papers and documents that place current events in a longer-term context as well as policy proposals to deal with short-term concerns. They are also documenting the emerging discussion of how the discipline of economics is reacting to the Great Recession and the questioning of conventional economic analysis.
Lance Taylor, a SCEPA Faculty Fellow, presents an overview of his new book, Maynard’s Revenge, in a Google Tech Talk.
The book, published this November by Harvard University Press, is a timely analysis of mainstream macroeconomics, posing the need for a more useful and realistic economic analysis that can provide a better understanding of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis.
The government spends $143 billion through tax breaks in an effort to expand pension coverage and security. Yet, over half of the American workforce does not have a pension. Retirement insecurity hurts business plans, workers’ lives and retiree well-being. Reform is needed.
SCEPA’s Guaranteeing Retirement Income Project, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with Demos and the Economic Policy Institute, has a plan to guarantee safe and secure retirement income for all Americans.
On March 6, 2012, SCEPA Research Assistant Lauren Schmitz testified before the Connecticut state legislature's Retirement Security Taskforce regarding the State GRA proposal authored by SCEPA Director and national retirement expert Teresa Ghilarducci. Lauren was joined by other experts, including (click on links to read their testimony):
The Connecticut legislature is considering two pieces of legislation regarding the need to secure retirement for the state's workers. First, a bill has been introduced to establish a task force to evaluate the utility of creating a public retirement plan. Second, legislation would create a task force to a study state-administered pension fund for employees in the state.
SCEPA's proposal aims to expand retirement security at the state level by giving workers who currently lack access to a retirement plan through work the option to invest in a retirement plan administered by the state pension fund.
Keith M. Phaneuf of the Connecticut Mirror reported on the hearing in his article, "Should State Government Offer a Retirement Plan for Private Citizens?" In it, he discusses residents' need for such a plan. Dave Palmer, executive director of the Center for Working Families, recently wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, "A Decent Retirement," that describes the need for New York State to follow in California & Connecticut's footsteps and propose legislation that helps all workers prepare for retirement.
In a recent op-ed piece in Crains New York Business SCEPA Faculty Fellow Rick McGahey focuses on tax breaks offered to companies by local governments. "Economists across the political spectrum agree that the $70 billion spent annually by state and local governments (some analysts estimate that New York City spends close to $2 billion annually) on these subsidies is largely wasted". The latest tax subsidy in the headlines, Fresh Direct, just exemplifies what is wrong with subsides and McGahey concludes that "even if subsidies have to be used in specific cases, more should be required from companies."
California is one step closer to adopting pension reform based on SCEPA director and national pension expert Teresa Ghilarducci's State GRA program. Linda Stern in her Reuters article and John Ortiz in his Sacramento Bee article both report that the California State Senate has proposed a bill that would require businesses with five or more employees to enroll them in a new "Personal Pension" defined benefit program or to offer an alternative employer-sponsored plan. The new system's investments would be professionally managed by CalPERS or another contracted organization. Employees would contribute about 3 percent of their wages through a payroll deduction, although they could opt out of the plan. Employers could make voluntary contributions into the fund.